The Real Ali

I like Muhammad Ali. Great fighter, HUGE personality. Fabulously entertaining. But all the talk of Ali as a great social activist is just hyperbolic BS.

He was an anti-semite and a racist who said once “A black man should be killed if he’s messing with a white woman,” The same fate, he said, should also await any black woman guilty of dating outside of her race. “Then she dies. Kill her too.” Those views were tempered by age apparently, but those are hard words to walk back, even with the grace we give to the dead.

He also said “In my name and the name of all Muslims in America, I declare support for the Palestinian struggle to liberate their homeland and oust the Zionist invaders.” Of course, even a lot of self-loathing Jews would say the same thing, so maybe you will give him a pass

I can celebrate his accomplishments as an athlete despite the crazy ideas of Farakhan and his ilk that he adopted when he joined the Nation of Islam. (Not a mainline Muslim, by the way – these are VASTLY different religions. Only later in life did he change religions again to Sunni Muslim.)

Furthermore, I knew plenty of guys back in the 70’s who resisted the draft and moved to Canada to avoid prison because they objected to the war. Ali did nothing special except that he got to stay home and enjoy living the rich life in America and avoid prison because of his celebrity. He was CERTAINLY no pacifist as evidenced by the quotes above.

Malcom X, Elijah Muhammad, Louis Farakhan, anti-war groups, race-baiters and leftists everywhere used Ali to promote their own agendas; supplying him with a narrative that he willingly and reliably regurgitated when asked, but he was no activist or great thinker. On his most lucid day, he made up sing-song rhymes about himself and hasn’t had a cogent thought in 20+ years.

I don’t say it to be insulting, but to point out the fact that the ideas he stood for are anathema to a civilized society and to the America that most of us love. I applaud him as a boxer, but don’t hold him up to me as a great human being. He was nothing of the sort.

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